West Auckland Town booked their place in the last 32 of the FA Vase after substitute David Dowson’s magnificent brace against Yorkshire Amateur helped complete a late fightback.
Ashley Flynn had given the Northern Counties East League Premier Division side the lead on 53 minutes before Dowson struck twice in quick succession to spark an astonishing turnaround in a chilly afternoon at the Wanted Stadium.
Craig Spooner, who joined West from fellow Northern League side Whitley Bay, made his first appearance as Gary Forrest opted for six changes from the 2-2 draw at Billingham Town.
Just 70 seconds in, Yorkshire Amateur, who have never progressed beyond the third round, looked for a rapid start when Harrison Blakey won the ball in midfield and released Ashley Flynn though he flashed his effort inches wide of the right-hand post.
Seven minutes later, Liam Hegarty raced onto Lewis Dodds’ delicate through ball and fired across the box with no one able to get a decisive touch.
As Neil Sibson’s side pushed more men forward, West hit them on the counterattack – Amar Purewal pulled it back for Rees Greenwood, who blazed over from 12 yards.
The opening half an hour was end-to-end, and the Ammers created another deadly chance through Stephen Crawford, whose high ball found Ashley Flynn, but his one-on-one effort was well blocked by the onrushing Tom Flynn.
In what was a largely tight affair, West were dealt a serious blow eight minutes after the restart when the visitors opened the scoring courtesy of a lapse in concentration as Stephen Smith broke in behind and squared to Ashley Flynn, and the number nine kept his cool to send the Leeds outfit ahead.
After surprisingly falling behind, Forrest made three changes in the space of four minutes with James Harwood, Alex Francis and Greenwood being replaced by Jamie Cobain, Anthony Bell and Dowson in one final throw of the dice.
With nine minutes remaining, Dowson, who scored the winning goal against local rivals Bishop Auckland in the previous round, produced more FA Vase magic and his fresh legs paid dividends for West as he precisely headed in Hegarty’s pin-point delivery at the back post to set up an intriguing finale.
And on 87 minutes, the turnaround was complete when Dowson, at the heart of the attack once again, lashed home from the edge of the area in the bottom right corner to spark a huge sigh of relief amongst the home supporters and confirm West’s passage into the fourth round.
West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Price, Mitton, Harwood (Cobain, 63), Dodds (c), Francis (Dowson, 67), Spooner, Purewal, Greenwood (Anthony Bell, 66), Mitchell
Subs not used – Mark Bell, Hornsby, Colquhoun
Goals – Dowson (81, 87)
Yorkshire Amateur – McClaughlan, Field (Fellowfield, 45) (Moke, 83), Heaton, Smith, Dempsey (c), Serrant, Sykes, Blakey, Flynn, Crawford, Henry
Sub not used – Savory
Goal – Ashley Flynn (53)
Referee – Craig Chatten
Attendance – 241
Photo by Andy Mitchell